Hey there dear friends! Happy weekend! I finally found some time last night around 1:30 am to do some picture editing. And after about 30 minutes tinkering around with iPhoto, I came to the conclusion that my camera had the flu during my Texas trip. Something about the pictures are just "off." But nonetheless, it was a fabulous trip, so I'm posting them and smiling all the way through it because my trip was so fun and so fabulous! Something about being with family and good friends is just refreshing to the soul :)
I flew out of Chicago bright and early Sunday morning. I'd spent most of the night before freaking out and cramming for my proposal, which left me a tad stressed the morning of my flight. But imagine my surprise when I stepped off the plane to see my dad waiting at my gate for me! Not in baggage claim, but right at the gate, like the good old days before security crack downs were necessary. Turns out my dad had a flight to DC that was leaving a few minutes after I landed, so he ran to surprise me and say hi. We hugged, took a pic, and then said goodbye at his gate. It was quick, but it was great to see my dad right after touchdown!
First on my craving list...MEXICAN FOOD! No offense to Chicagoans, but that stuff yall call Mexican...its just not cutting it for me. So Monday, after a long day of thrifting with my mom, we waited for my bro to get home from school, and headed to a little hole in the wall spot near the house. So so yummy. (PS: Guess what I found during my thrifting adventures? 3 pairs of never been worn Frye boots. For 24 dollars! They were a full size too small, but you better believe I stood there for a good ten minutes trying to cram my foot in there. I considered a toe amputation for a few seconds before tearfully putting them back on the shelf. I hope they found a happy home!
My little bro and me :)
After dinner, we headed to Connie's for some of the best frozen custard on the planet (second only to Rusty's in Norman, Oklahoma.) My go to treat? Chocolate custard mixed with chocolate shavings and strawberries. Yum and totally healthy with the strawberry addition ;)
The next day and a half are a total blur because I was an anxious wreck about proposing my dissertation. But...this picture was taken almost two hours after my proposal, at one of the bars across from campus. If the smiles and drinks don't give it away, all went well and I got the green light to move ahead. Woo hoo! And an extra woo hoo for my sweet friends Norma and Edgar who treated me to an impromptu celebration :)
Back in Houston, my family celebrated at our usual celebration spot, Saltgrass. If you haven't eaten here, you are seriously missing out. It is SO good, I'm drooling as we speak.
Nothing like a Texas sized steak, french fried onions, and a glass of wine to say, "Hell yeah I passed my dissertation proposal!"
I spent most of Thursday shopping and lunching with my mom and was so happy to treat her to a mini-shopping spree at "the store" as an early birthday present. Friday morning, with Matt now in Texas, we headed back to our old graduate school stomping grounds. First thing on my agenda? A coffee date with my old supervisee, Krystavel. She's all grown up and graduated now, but sitting with her at Starbucks felt just like old times! Also a quick sidenote, last week I received a pretty harsh comment from an anonymous poster (surprise, surprise) who called it "annoying, disappointing, and offensive" that I did not reveal the name of my university on my blog. I assume this person thinks I'm not proud of the institution I attend, when in fact, it has nothing to do with that. I just choose not to reveal some details on my blog, both for safety and for privacy. Though some context clues might reveal the same information, I just make a choice not to explicitly reveal certain things. I mean, Anonymous, don't you watch Criminal Minds? They are some craaazy people out there, so I choose to keep a few things to myself, for my own piece of mind. And if you don't like it, too bad. This is my blog, not yours :)
Then it was off to my old job to see some of my old students and coworkers. I miss them SO much! I especially miss this pretty lady who is my old boss and a very dear friend.
Working with college students is one of best jobs in the whole world, and I miss it like crazy. These are a few of my favorites (with a few of Matt's favorites in the background.) Crazy crazy kids who taught me more about life than I ever expected.
Imagine one of the most genuine, encouraging, and mature college students you can think of. This is her. She is too wonderful for words (and is also celebrating a birthday this week. Happy birthday Susan!)
Next on the to-do list...getting Matt's college ring! Getting a ring is big deal at the place we're going to school. I'm not getting a ring (I can't fathom spending that much on a ring unless its got substantial bling on it) but Matt's parents gifted him one for graduation, and he has certainly worked hard for it. (Two bachelors, two masters, and a Ph.D Sheesh!) Nerd much? :)
They asked Matt, "who is with you today?" When he said my wife, they smiled and gave me the ring to present to him. I didn't quite know the ring giving protocol, so I smiled, squeaked, and said "Congratulations!" It was really neat :)
And to make it even better, our best friend Miguel was there for all of it!
Matt's new man bling. After editing these pictures, I've decided I'll treat myself to a nice piece of bling when I finish this degree. What better to say, "Hooray you survived 6 years of graduate school hell" than a new David Yurman? :)
Happy Matt, proud me :)
Out of all the pictures these BFFs have together, this might be the cutest lol.
On our way out, I ran into one of my old students who was also getting her ring. Congrats Jill!
After a million more ring pics, a quick trip to Sonic (why don't they have more of those treasure joints in Illinois?), and an outfit change, we met up with our old crew and headed to dinner. And we couldn't pass up a quick backseat photo op :)
Matt and me at one of our favorite local dinner spots (though the service was so terrible that night, it became comical.)
Back at the ring celebration, our group of seven huddled for a quick picture. I love and miss these people so much and am certain I would not have survived graduate school without them!
Me and Normie :)
Saturday we headed back to Houston for a "congrats on getting accepted to OU" party for my little brother. BOOMER!
The newest Sooner addition :)
A Crimson wearing family! Congrats Ryan on getting accepted to the best university around! I can't wait to come visit you :)
Sunday afternoon we packed our suitcases and said goodbye to Texas. At the airport, Matt and I said celebrated our wonderful Texas trip with a quick bite to eat and drink. Whoever said airport food is yucky has clearly not eaten at this little hotspot. Terminal C, I hope we meet again soon!
So, there you have it...a wonderful week at home filled with family, friends, and celebrations. I am surrounded by such incredible people, and I am so grateful for all of the blessings God has given to me! Till next time Texas...